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Du Châtelet Prize

The Du Châtelet Prize in Philosophy of Physics celebrates excellence in philosophy of physics and promotes breadth across the field both historically and philosophically.

The Du Châtelet Prize in Philosophy of Physics is supported by Duke University in collaboration with Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.

2023 Call for Papers

Laws and symmetries in the practice of physics


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Nancy Cartwright’s highly influential book, How the Laws of Physics Lie. In honor of this, we invite submissions addressing the ways laws and symmetries are deployed in the practice of doing physics: in experiment, in theory, and in the interplay between them. The scope is intended to be broad, encompassing the variety of theoretical, practical, and explanatory roles that laws and symmetries play in physics.


The winner will receive $1000, an invitation to participate in a workshop on the topic of this year’s prize, and an invitation to have their paper considered for publication in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. The prize is open to graduate students and to scholars within 5 years of PhD as of the submission deadline. Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words.

The deadline for submissions is September 10th, 2023 (midnight GMT).

Committee: Elena Castellani, Nina Emery, Bas van Fraassen, Marc Lange


For more information contact Katherine Brading (


Descartes' Metaphysical Physics


Ovidiu Babeș, “Mixed Mathematics and Metaphysical Physics:

Descartes and the Mechanics of the Flow of Water” 


Roger Ariew, Dan Garber, Dana Jalobeanu, Alison Peterman, Sophie Roux



Measurement practices in the physical sciences: correlation, calibration and stabilization


Jamee Elder, “On the ‘direct detection’ of gravitational waves"

Miguel Ohnesorge, “Pluralising measurement: Physical geodesy's measurement problem and its resolution” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 96 51-67, 2022


Alisa Bokulich, Hasok Chang, Daniel Mitchell, and Wendy Parker


Mathematics as a tool of conceptual innovation in physical theory and/or experiment, 1780-1890


Joshua Eisenthal, "Hertz's Mechanics and a unitary notion of force” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 226-234. 2021


Janet Folina, Doreen Fraser, Lydia Patton and Sheldon Smith



How matter acts on matter: unsolved problems in the philosophy of physics, 1700-1760


Adwait Parker, “Newton on Active and Passive Quantities of Matter” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 84 1-11. 2020


Katherine Brading, Mary Domski, Andrew Janiak, Chris Smeenk, and George Smith

"Physics is an immense building that surpasses the powers of a single man. Some lay a stone there, while others build whole wings... still others survey the plan of the building, and I, among them."

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